Wouldn’t it be great if your cat would come when called?
For many pet parents, this seems like a fantasy, a cool trick reserved for obedient dogs and special horses in Westerns. Believe it or not, many cats can actually be taught to come when called.
Why Teach a Cat to Come When Called?
In addition to being a cool trick, this is also a useful one. For cats that spend time outside, coming when called ensures more safety and allows pet parents to call cats in at night or when the owner is leaving. Additionally, teaching a cat to come when called allows cat owners to do easy head counts and locate cats that seem lost in large houses.
How to Teach a Cat to Come When Called
As you can imagine, teaching a cat to respond to her name might not be the easiest undertaking in the world. Some cats are more inclined to learn than others are, but even the most disinterested kitties can learn this trick when trained with enticing food rewards. Follow these steps to begin the training process:
Develop a “Cat Call”: All pet parents do this differently. Some owners opt for a “kitty kitty” call while others choose to use the cat’s name or a whistle. What you choose is up to you. The important part is to ensure it remains consistent throughout the training process and afterwards.
Practice at Close Distances: Start your training sessions when the cat is within easy distance, such as on the other side of the living room. Call your cat using the call you have chosen. Most likely, the cat will perk up and be interested in the new sound. Encourage the cat with a treat or a toy and, when the cat eventually comes to you, reward him or her with a special treat.
Repeat: Consistency is important here. Several times a week, practice your kitty call and reward the cat immediately when she responds. As the cat gets better and better, start practicing from further distances, such as different floors or across the entire house.
Get Family Members in on the Action: Once your cat seems to have mastered the call from a distance, practice having family members and friends call the cat as well. Hearing different people do the kitty call will help your cat solidify what it means and will make her quicker in responding.
The Case for the Kitty Call
One of the largest complaints pet parents have about their cats is that they are aloof and unresponsive. Cats that learn to come when called, however, buck this stereotype. In addition to allowing pet parents to have more control over their outdoor cat’s safety as well as providing a way to keep tabs on multiple kitties, teaching a cat to come when called is fun and engaging for cats and their owners.